He was out the door, slammed shut in 2004
and he couldn't get back in even if he wanted to
because the lock broke after he moved out to Hadar
the arm pit of Haifa, and wouldn't tell me where he was
as a punishment for my banishing him.
A friend saw him on Masada street.
In the end that proved to be his street
oh, the time I had for friends, in the hot Mediterranean sun
dinners in cramped living rooms with laughter and wine and always
houmus. You can't eat a meal without it, and prints of art on the wall
and the cement floor, and the too many cats
So he'd crash in, do something that had to be done, insult me, and leave
and this was it
I sat in that big apartment with he fancy black cement floors and smoked
cigarettes and took the bus to the cat shelter to clean 25 cat boxes in a cold water
bath tub and set them out to dry in the sun
and hang discarded clothes on a fold out clothes rack, each cat got a shirt to lie on
and instant coffee and chocolate at 4:45 PM and cigarettes as cats walked around in the
But at home, sometimes I'd try to get him back, if I could
But he could always be so much more mean, poking at the tender spots
without remorse and I learned, not to fight back
Just to collapse and cry as the door slammed or he said something
and then stormed out, absolutely not caring
There were my friends, here I have no time for friends,
and I talked to him and prepared for a time when I'd go back and
have no time for friends again
Everything would be work, work, get yourself back on track
you've lost so much time
But here, too, the losses are deep and I sit in my own apartment, with
carpet and a dishwasher, that I could only have dreamed of having then
and my own car in the parking lot, and
People make me cry.
People where I work, people I mistook for friends
and it's better now, I now, if I can only follow through
to seek no revenge
but just to mourn
Because the world can be more cruel and cold and uncaring
than I can ever imagine
there's no competing
it's better to sit and cry here, too
Revelations from your cherished words,
Echoes in my inner mind like love birds
Enlightening those songs, you sung
Engraved within my mind forever.
After years and fears of destiny
I ran into the cambers of darkness;
Setting off in grief, seeking a shield
from other's eyes; arrows; uneasiness;
Even the Love shines a light at me
And knowingly, honestly.
I bow my head, earnestly,
Searching for a way to explain.
I ran further away from you;
I bow my head in deep confusion,
Hoping to disappear into the shadows
as moments crumble around me.
I cannot protect myself forever
from the rage of my grief,
Except by going deeper and deeper
into my own solitude.
(All poems in this series are, translations from Malayalam, originally written in author’s mother-tongue, “Malayalam’”, the language of Kerala, in South India.)
BY WILLIAMSJI MAVELI
Soft, speckled nose gone dry with sleep, tonight
I wake her up to stroke her fur lined back
A growl escapes to my surprise; what fright!
Now ears drawn back, prepare for an attack
Instead, she escapes, darting through the door.
Not to be overlooked are her sweet paws
Pattering across the cold, kitchen floor
She makes a show of them, extending claws
Her tongue catches a taste of droplets left
From early morning, in her deep blue bowl.
Like me, she finds quiet… sometimes bereft
In this house with creaky floors, not quite whole
I lean my head against her sunken spine
And listen to her heart keep time, like mine
it'll always be there
it's always been there
of this magnitude
the deep hate
the abhorrence for my breath
the saddest thing
seeing my chest rise and fall
fills my mind
it doesn't just develop
its always been
For sixteen years now I've been haunted by your death,
you'd have been 27 today.
I was only 7 when it happened; when you drew your last breath,
your 'little shadow' lost something deep inside herself that day.
you were the only one who cared about me then,
alone and scared in the hospital; you were my only friend.
You helped me cope; taught me how to unleash my pen,
if I couldn't deal with it; you'd help me mend.
I thought you were fine; we'd just spoke on the phone,
making plans to go to the movies the next day.
Your voice never betrayed the 'secret' your face would have shown,
last words I heard are "I'll see you tommorrow Jenni, I promise." you say.
you never came; I knew something was off,
then that gut wrenching phone call...
my mother hung up and told me you'd died; her voice all quiet and soft.
I remember my head spinning,
I black out and fall.
It was several months after; that I found out what happened,
why you'd gone.
Your own demon won over as your depression deepened,
you hung yourself; leaving me here alone and undone.
Why did you have to go,
why must I stay all by myself?
As an adult I now understand; I know,
but it still eats me up inside; my broken innerself.
Sixteen years later; I still have that damn note you left me,
it's the only thing I've got left of you;
"Tell Jenni I'm so sorry,
and that I love her.
He told me that if I told anyone he'd take me and my brothers and sisters away from our mom and he'd kill her.
when I was 6 my mother married my stepfather (who is phsyically, mentally, and verbally abusive), and soon after I had a tramatic black out and according to my family I stabbed my stepfather in the leg with a kitchen knife, I was screaming like a banshee, and trying to hurt myself.
My mother and stepfather took me to a psychiatric hospital and kept me there for 6 months.
I would not talk to the doctors, nurses, shrieks, anyone and everyone was an enemy as far as I was concerned.
The place was terrifiying, the kids there were all disturbed in one way or another.
Elizabeth was 13, and was there because her father had been sexually abusing her since she was 4.
She and I became friends, and she protected me against older kids that would bully others or worse.
She was the only one I opened up to, she convinced me that I should speak to the doctors, that they would help.
She assured me my father would not take me or my siblings away or harm my mother, and that he might be put in jail if I told them what happened.
I trusted her judgement so I did, and after a lot of different things I was released from the hospital.
Elizabeth and I stayed in contact, she lived a few blocks from me.
The night she killed herself we had talked about going and seeing the new disney movie that had just come out and were planning to good see it after school the next day.
My mother did tell me she died but wouldn't tell me why, wouldn't let me go to her funeral, nothing.
I found out through a friend of hers that hung out with us sometimes, and her mother years later confirmed it.
Her father had gotten off the court charges because of some techincallity, and she was to vist him every weekend.
She knew what would happen when she did, so rather than face it she hung herself in her basement.
Elizabeth was my guardian angel then, and I believe she still is today.
I miss her dearly everyday.
My friend, guardian angel, and sister.
The words of anger you spill can penetrate deep into my soul, your icy chill makes my blood run cold.
The constant judging glances that you cast my way can instantly make my courage fold.
But that's just a family affair.
It cuts so much deeper when the knife thrusted into my back is wielded by one that shares my family name.
A person that I would die to protect suddenly has me second guessing if they would do the same.
But hey , that's a family affair.
You can bring out of me a rage like no other person can and in an instant all I can see is a fiery red hue.
But despite it all we are family, you will always be connected me and I will always be connected to you.
That's how it goes when it's a family affair
I stared into sky deep eyes,
Beyond the abyss.
When I was done she stared back,
And saw hunger.
Feed the hunger,
I wish I could walk through the door.
I want to be on the other side.
They tell me to get off the floor.
I want to pass through and hide,
pass through the door of death.
I can smell the scent of the different rooms.
I can’t wait to feel the betrayal of the fumes.
I wish this bottle would get me higher,
higher to that lowest point.
For this inverse plan of disaster,
I shall begin to master.
why would you come to me?
Thinking much to fast,
and writing blood songs of the past,
as I stare at the scars on my wrist,
I begin to wonder,
was there something I missed?
Perhaps it was a cold deep purple sky,
more detached than that haunting smile in your eye.
Maybe it was two diffractions of symmetry.
For when the memory is possessed,
by an unknown passion of the gods’ eyes,
we will suddenly see softer tides.
I lie beneath the neon lights of the crosses and other anti figures,
dressed in blank stares with no air.
With closed minds,
they replenish and indulge their feedings on our lost soul,
and for them, it never seems to take a toll.
You gave me the words that were never there.
Today is a strange day.
As I watch the wealthy play,
I also see the children pray.
Oh a strange day.
I could see your lonely face looking back at me,
in the rear window of your parent’s Buick.
Your tears staggered down the dirty windows.
Drifting away, parting ways,
my thoughts always bring me to the sad days,
lingering intricate as a drawn out tragedy play.
You are a memory,
so vivid and extract,
quite detailed and exact.
Why did you come to me?
We dance soft, contained, closed-
-careful not to show.
We are safe within the lines.
Seeping out between the cracks,
coming to the surface,
are the real colors:
Wild. Beautiful. Broken.
Courage is in the simplicity:
bare feet on wood,
air in our lungs,
-a tiny beating-
a calling deep within our bones.
We dance imperfect and raw,
our bodies finding the voice that shouts to be heard.
We dance freedom, vulnerability;
the struggle of sunrise.
we let ourselves be seen.
We throw, crash, release, open.
I feel your hand grab my arm,
and the way you hold me sews my heart together.
We are one.
We are separate.
Pulling back each piece
from the animals,
we are humbled by what we’ve created,
by each other,
Sweet things have no words,
only nods and sharp giggles
over gasping for water.
In these moments
I know there is something more.
I sit here so isolate with so much on my mind;
Oh how my heart cry's out to you Jehovah ,
Your words hold my poor heart in the right
Way to go ,
I was so lost and a lone , didn't have nothing I
Could call my own , I didn't even have a home ,
Some time ago I had lost my way of better days;
what have I done? I taken my eyes off of the true
God ; and started walking in darkness , I thought
I could do things on my own ;
Know I cry out ! Please don't leave me ,I need you
Jehovah , I love you I was so wrong to think I was
Better on my own without you to lead the way for
Me to walk ,
This torture of this old darken world ; destroyed me
I can't sleep, My heart keep taunting me , For doing
So wrong , This pain that I feel goes on night and day
kills my laughter, encourages more pain; and keep's
Me so deep in depression of my wrong's ,
My soul cry's out like a old sad love song of long ago
When psalms of David cry's to come home ,
Jehovah find me ! tell me that everything is going to be
alright , That you are by my side ,
Just know Jehovah ; That I have made a stupid mistake
And I will keep walking in your ways of better day's .
The beating of my heart,and the throbbing in my brain
Was as if I was about to die to an empty place lost men
Call home of ever lasting ;
I had to cry of a reality check , This was not were I wanted
To be ! My heart belong to Jehovah of everlasting love
From heaven above ,
I had to cry many day's and lonely night ; Hoping and praying
You would hear my cry's ,
I had felt you don't want me , But just then I heard a voice say
In the dark pouring rain , Saying I gave my only begotten Son
Jesus to die for you , and for all mankind ,
So just then I could feel my heart mined ,And I new Jehovah head
My cry and told me to live life right in his eyes, From that time on
I moved on teaching others about Jehovah and his law's .